In a tech world where everyone is talking about the audio and voice revolution, augmented reality, and virtual reality, simply typing words on a screen can seem like an antiquated habit to have. Why write an article when you can just record a video? Why send an email when you can share a voice note? Yet, it is still one of the most powerful communication medium we have.
I have always loved writing. When I was a kid, I could only see two reasonable career paths in front of me: novelist, or paleontologist. None of these turned out to be true, but my love for words and things that give a glimpse into the past is still there.
When I was 19, I was the admin of the biggest online forum for young writers in France. I wrote a few novels, and even went through the painful process of printing them on A4 pages, binding them, and going to the Post Office to send them to publishers, while making a little prayer that someone would notice this particular stack of paper and give it a read.
While I haven’t ended up publishing a novel, I still continue to write on a daily basis. And I think you should, too.
Writing is a very effective way to get in front of your target audience in a meaningful way. No need for money or expensive equipment. Open your laptop, create a new doc, and off you go. Even publishing has become accessible to everyone. Get a blog on Medium, or self-host using Ghost or WordPress. And if you’d rather keep it super simple, you don’t even need WordPress.
From consumer to creator
If you are an entrepreneur, you are likely to read lots of content everyday, either to inform your business decisions, learn how to build your product, or simply to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry. You are consuming lots and lots of words, and these words are shaping your company.
Your target customers are doing the exact same thing. And if you are not writing, they are consuming the words of other people, who they look up to for useful information. This alone should be a good reason to start writing more. But what should you write about?
At first, anything. Really.
Many entrepreneurs try to find the perfect idea for an article before getting started. This results often results in them not publishing anything, or maybe writing an article only when they are launching a new product feature.
While writing can help you achieve many business goals, it should at first be taken as an end in itself. Writing is one of the best ways to consolidate and articulate your thoughts. By writing regularly, you will be able to better communicate via other mediums too, be it public speaking or when pitching to a client.
Have you been struggling with an aspect of your business? Write a short article about the strategies you’ve been trying. Did you just read something about a trend in your industry? Reply to it with your own spin on it. Just finished an intense debate on Reddit? Share a summary on your blog. You can find inspiration everywhere. Just stop trying to find that perfect, unique idea nobody has ever written about before. If nobody is talking about this topic, chances are nobody really cares. Rather than a way to distinguish yourself, consider writing as a way to join the conversation.
Flex your writing muscle
Writing is not hard. Anyone can become a good writer. The difference between an advance writer and a beginner one is just the amount of time they have spent honing their craft. Becoming a good writer just requires to write regularly.
“I write because it lets me access, sort, and think through my thoughts,” says Jordie. “The aim, with every piece of writing I do, is to provide myself and others with the sense of clarity that comes with well thought-out words.”
And lucky for you, there are now many tools to motivate you to write on a daily basis. 200 Words a Day, a community of writers, encourages you to keep your streak by forming a daily writing habit. Or you can join Write Together, a low-pressure blogging platform. You can even live stream the process on Ship Streams.
Some people – including the venerable Stephen King – say it’s good to write 1000 words a day. Some others others say 500 words. The reality is that you just need to write every day. A good trick is to commit to write one full sentence a day. However tired you are, just open your notebook or your laptop, and jot down that one sentence. If you feel like you’re done, good. You’ve done your job. If you feel like writing more, nothing is stopping you.
The rise of indie writers
Whatever you write, share it. You don’t need to go through traditional publishers and publications anymore. With the direct-to-reader model, you can write your content, and share it straight away with your audience.
Nathan Barry, the founder of ConvertKit, reportedly made $150,000 from self-published books in less than a year. He didn’t sign a deal with a big publishing house. He just uploaded his ebook to Gumroad. Want to sell a printed book? Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing let’s you do just that.
Being an indie maker means being free to create and launch your products into the world without needing the approval or financial backup of third parties. Being an indie writer is very similar: you are free to write and publish whatever you want, whenever you want to. Your sole performance metric is your readers’ satisfaction.
Those readers could be potential customers, partners, or future friends. Whoever your audience is, reading your words will help them provoke more meaningful conversations. And we certainly need these in 2019.
P.S. This article was inspired by a conversation I recently had with Corey Gwin, the founder of Blurt, a smart writing tool that helps you to both write better and more regularly. You can listen to our chat below.